Microsoft is long working on a foldable Android device — the Surface Duo. The company has been relying on a third-party firm called Movial for software development for its first Android-powered mobile device. However, it has now moved the development in-house.
The Windows software maker has acquired the three Movial teams that had been developing the Surface Duo’s flavor of Android. It has reportedly hired the teams based in Romania, Taiwan, and the United States. Movial employees from these locations will now work on this project as full-time employees at Microsoft.
According to a report from SeeNews, Movial’s office in Iași, Romania will become Microsoft's fourth research and development center in the country.
A total of 60 Movial employees from that location will be joining Microsoft. It's unclear how many Movial employees Microsoft has hired in total across the three locations.
Microsoft isn't acquiring Movial as a whole, though. The Helsinki, Finland based privately held software engineering firm will continue to operate as a standalone company out of its headquarters.
Microsoft hires Movial employees to boost the Surface Duo software development
Microsoft first showcased the Surface Duo during the Microsoft Surface event in October last year. It is a foldable Android device featuring two separate screens, much like the ZTE Axon M or the LG V50 ThinQ 5G. The device was also spotted in wild earlier this year.
The company is planning to launch this foldable phone later this year. It will come equipped with two 5.6-inch AMOLED displays, an 11-megapixel camera, a Snapdragon 855 SoC, 6GB of RAM, and up to 256GB of storage.
Ahead of that, the Windows giant has now bolstered its in-house Android expertise by hiring the three Movial teams.
The newly hired employees will handle post-launch software support for the Surface Duo. Additionally, the teams will also work on the successor to the device, supposedly called Surface Duo V2. The second-generation Microsoft foldable is already in the early stages of development.
Microsoft engineers have also begun contributing to the Android Open Source Project. The company appears to be looking to get the Surface Duo to pass Android’s Compatibility Test Suite.
Additionally, it has a number of job listings seeking Android engineers to work on the Surface Duo, as well as its future Android endeavors.
All this suggests that Microsoft has renewed its interest in mobile devices and is serious about it. And this time around, the company is tapping on Android OS. Its efforts with Windows Phone were discontinued in 2017.